Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Middle America

If somewhere in the world there are bounty-style beaches that have not been cleaned with small rakes, sprinkled with flour on top, rubbed palm leaves with oil and did not tweak the colors in Photoshop, then Punta Cana is the place. Of course, bikini-clad beauties will not always lie here on every hammock, sipping an ice-cold cocktail through a straw. But everything else looks exactly like on TV screens or on colorful advertising brochures. See MATERNITYETCHIC for Dominican Republic customs regulations and visa requirements.

It is no wonder that this small town with a long coastline, almost entirely built up with low -rise five-star hotels, is so popular with tourists. As a bonus, three national parks nearby, mangrove forests, reptiles, tropical birds, all kinds of underwater life and perhaps the best fish restaurants in the country. The contingent of local vacationers is entirely family tourists and fans of a relaxing holiday in the bosom of nature.

Districts of Punta Cana

The resort of Punta Cana stretches along the coast for 60 km, conditionally it is divided into 9 districts. Each of them has its own characteristics that you need to know about when going on vacation.

The center of the region is the town of Punta Cana itself. It is quite small – just a couple of hotels. But it is here that the main transport hubs are located – the airport and intercity bus stops.

Cap Cana is an elite area with corresponding prices and level of service. A series of white beaches with luxurious hotels, green palm trees, swimming pools and spa treatments make the rest measured and serene.

Opponents of intense nightlife should pay attention to the beaches of Cabeza de Toro and El Cortecito. The first is famous for its fish restaurants and the Blue Flag, the second for numerous shops and markets.

The entire infrastructure is concentrated in Bavaro – a hospital, banks, pharmacies and shops. There are also restaurants and nightclubs, and the local beach is considered one of the best in the entire Dominican Republic. The coast and sea in the Macau area are clean and safe, but there is almost no beach infrastructure.

Punta Cana Hotels

The resort presents hotels of the world’s leading hotel chains. The most common are Sol Melia, Paradisus, Barcelo, Princess and Iberostar. Hotels, as a rule, consist of two- or three-story buildings and bungalows, scattered among lush tropical vegetation and palm trees. Most of these hotels operate on an all-inclusive basis. Moreover, unlike many well-known club systems, in the hotels of Punta Cana, everything is really included in the price.

The most budget accommodation options in Punta Cana are hostels and guest houses. Price per night – from 900 DOP for a bed in a shared room and from 1400 DOP for a double room, breakfast is usually already included in it. For lovers of wild recreation, there are campsites in the middle of palm trees – from 750 DOP per tent.

There are few 2 and 3 * resort hotels, the prices are quite democratic – 950-4500 DOP per night in a double room. The bulk of the hotels are resort “five” and “four” – 2000-45,000 DOP for two per day.


The resort has large shopping centers (“Plaza Bavaro” and “Plaza Punta Cana”), where you can find clothes and accessories of European and American brands – Puma, Guess, Adidas, Paul & Shark, Swarovski and others. Prices here are quite commensurate with Moscow.

During sales seasons (March, October and Christmas holidays) there are discounts up to 50%.

If you want to save money, it is better to shop far from major tourist centers. An hour’s drive from Punta Cana is the Iberia supermarket, where prices are much lower than on the coast.

There are small shops and souvenir shops in almost every area, but most of them are in Bavaro. Most of the shopping and entertainment centers are also concentrated here, including the most respectable one – Palma Real Shopping.

For Dominican souvenirs and clothes, it is better to go to the flea market near the El Cortecito beach. Here you can buy items made of amber and larimar (semi-precious stone) and the symbol of the Dominican Republic – the Lime doll. Coffee and local tincture “mamajuana” should be looked for in supermarkets – it will be cheaper than in stores.

What to try

Dominican cuisine has absorbed American, European and even Eastern traditions. Its characteristic feature is a non-standard combination of familiar products. A vivid confirmation of this is the Taino dish (fritters stuffed with meat). You should definitely try “san gochon” – a broth cooked on the basis of several varieties of meat and vegetables.

Do not forget about coconuts and tropical fruits, they are cheap here. Pineapple, mango, avocado, pitahaya and passion fruit can be found in supermarkets and hotel menus. But you will have to hunt for mammon or guanabana, they rarely come across even in the markets.

Bananas appear on the Dominican table in an unusual light. Varieties resembling our potatoes grow here, they are fried and added to snacks. The most unusual dish is “mangu” (banana puree, in which you can put bacon, cheese or butter if you wish).

Cafes and restaurants in Punta Cana

Most hotels in Punta Cana have their own restaurants, many organize all-inclusive meals with a traditional buffet. You don’t have to go out to the city to refresh yourself. However, on the streets of the resort there are many establishments of Dominican, European and Asian cuisine. For a change and acquaintance with local culinary traditions, it is worth having dinner outside the hotel several times.

Fans of heavy music and an informal atmosphere will surely like the branch of the famous Hard Rock Cafe chain. It serves traditional American food and drinks.

It is better to try local cuisine in small family restaurants on the coast. There, dishes are prepared according to original recipes, and a cozy homely atmosphere reigns in the hall. Plus, it’s a good way to save money. You can also have a cheap meal in a cafe or fast food.

The range of prices in restaurants is quite large. The average bill in inexpensive eateries does not exceed 1700 DOP, in middle-class establishments it varies from 1800 to 4000 DOP. For a dinner for two with wine in an elite restaurant, you can pay 12,000 DOP.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic